Thursday, October 20, 2011

Montevideo Geography

Ok so I know most of you aren't the geography nerd I am, so knowing where the island country of Palau is might not be your strong suit. Therefore, I am going to give a brief geography lesson on Montevideo. I will put a map up, but it really sucks so if you want play with Google maps a little and it might make more sense.

Ok so first Montevideo is divided into Barrios or neighborhoods that have their own distinct characteristics. As you can see there is a peninsula to the west and one to the south. Ok the one to the west is called Ciudad Vieja(Old City). It is where the city was in the 1800's before it expanded due to heavy immigration from Spain and Italy. This is where the port is(north side) and a lot of the tourist attractions.(I will explain them and put pictures up in another post).To the east of that is the downtown called Centro. This the main business district an it follows the main street Avenida 18 de Julio(the big one that goes east-west from the western peninsula).

To the south of this main street are the barrios of Palermo and Barrio Sur. They are historically a little poorer and home to the few Africans here in Uruguay. However, the are also the home of candombe(a popular style of music here that is seen at Carnaval. Interesting fact: Montevideo has the longest Carnaval in the world like 40 some days. Anyways you can see that there is a split in the Main Streets. The one going northeast ends at Parque Battle(one of three huge city parks) which is home to Estadio Centenario the national soccer stadium that was built for the 1st World Cup and at the time State-of-the-Art. A little to the West of that is Tres Cruces(3 crosses because three major streets(Avenida Italia, Avenida 18 de Julio, and Avenida General Artigas)intersect there). There is the bus terminal for long distance buses and a small mall.

Now follow the largest street(Avenida General Artigas) from Parque Battle to the tip of the Southern peninsula. Those barrios are called Pocitos and Punta Carretas and are the richest neighborhoods that are in the center of the city. All the new bars and restaurants are being built there and it is a very very nice area.On the west side of the peninsula you can see a golf course and Parque Rodo(smaller than Battle but still nice). Now see the road running along the coast that is called the Rambla. It has different names like Rambla Sur or Rambla President Wilson(near the U.S. embassy) but it runs for 22km(~13mi.) along the coast with an expansive sidewalk for joggers, couples, and whoever else wants to walk near the ocean(Actually it is the mouth of the Rio de la Plata translated River Plate, but it actually means Silver(Money) River). Anyways there is a beach to the south of it by Pocitos.

Now of course the city extends farther northwards and eastwards(along the coast). Generally the farther east you go the bigger the houses get especially barrios like Buceo and Carrasco, but I won't be living there so really not important. However, to the north and west a little bit is Parque Prado(It isn't on the map, but google it). Anyways this is a park similar in size to Battle. It has lots of botanical gardens a very nice Hotel and a stream(disgusting, but still water) running through it. I am currently living on the north side of the Park with a family (near Camino Castro and Avenida Millan if you want to know).

This neighborhood is very ritzy as well. Think Uruguay's version of Leawood or West Des Moines. In fact the president of Uruguay's house is a short walk away. I found that out when I asked why one house had so much security(probably won't take pictures of it, no need for charges of spying or something). Also many ambassadors and very important people in Montevideo live here. It is more old money from what I can tell whereas Carrasco is new money. Anyways this area was built by the British when they were here during the 1800's so parts of it have a very English feel.

Ok now you should know Montevideo better than the average person that doesn't live here. Next Lesson will be Geography of Uruguay. Class dismissed.

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